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Southern Highlands govt urged to build coffee factory in Pangia

The rehabilitation of a 30km Maupini to Wala access road in Pangia District and setting up of a green bean coffee factory at the station will increase production for Southern Highlands Province, says a coffee official.
Project Manager of Coffee Industry Corporation’s Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (CIC-PPAP) Potaisa Hombunaka said Pangia is the leading coffee producing district in the province.
“A factory at Pangia station and improvement to this economic road (Maupini-Wala) will solve all the problems by 60 per cent. I can assure you of that,” said Mr Hombunaka.
Currently there is no coffee factory in the province. Buyers sell their coffee to processing mills in Mt Hagen.
Mr Hombunaka therefore called on the provincial administration to write to the Department of National Planning & Monitoring to factor this road in the currently designed 2018-2022 Third Medium Term Development Plan.
These calls were made during an official launching of coffee gardening tools and materials for distribution to growers at Pangia station on Friday 18 May, 2018.
Prior to the launching the manager travelled the recently upgraded road from Pangi station to South Wiru in the morning to see firsthand improvement to coffee gardens carried out by lead partner Kori Coffee Ltd.
Present at the official launching was newly appointed acting Provincial Administrator Joseph Cajetan and some provincial assembly members and councilors.
Mr Hombunaka added: “It cost about a lousy K3 million to set up a factory”.
“Why can’t we export Pangia coffee or Wiru coffee or whatever name you would like to call? There is more than enough coffee here (Pangia).”
Lead Partner of CIC-PPAP Daniel Piopo of Kori Coffee Ltd said between the month of March and May this year, they bought 81,662kg of parchment coffee from growers costing K531,000 between the month of March and May, 2018.
“If I’m not buying coffee all these stores in Pangia will not operate,” said Mr Piopo implying that coffee contributes to the cash flow in the district.
Meanwhile, the manager of the World Bank and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) financed project through a loan arrangement with PNG Government wants growers to own the factory and operate like a small medium enterprise (SME) in alliance with the lead partner.
“They (growers) pay shares and become owners of this factory. It is important, it is critical.”
“The government must facilitate that because once they (growers) take ownership with the lead partner, leave politics out of it and let it run as a business.”
“Growers take ownership and will have the heart to continue to produce and sell in their own factory.”
The coffee manager added: “Exporting coffee is no longer a problem. It’s not rocket science. CIC (Coffee Industry Corporation) has relax the issue of license, not like before where you must have K300,000 in your bank account.”
The acting provincial administrator in his first public appearance gave an undertaking to weed out corruption in the provincial administration to support coffee development work.
“I will introduce prudent management, efficiency and costs savings into the province to use money appropriately to right places like coffee and agriculture work.”
“I will sit with my executive officer and advisor and see how we can help coffee apart from other agriculture commodities.”
“This time we cut on unnecessary cost and put money where it will benefit people. I want to assure you (growers) that we will look at helping.”
“Our focus now should look at helping little people to create wealth for themselves and empower their lives. In terms of agriculture development this is the way to go.”
The coffee rehabilitation is a PNG Government (Department of Agriculture and Livestock) initiative supported by World Bank and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) through loan financing.
A total of K4.2 million is being invested in coffee rehabilitation in Southern Highlands with three lead partners namely Kori Coffee Ltd, Warapena Constructions Ltd and Undiri Coffee Investment Ltd. All three partnerships under a public-private alliance arrangement are serving a total of 2152 households covering 873 hectares in Pangia, Kaupena and Kewabi.
“This is a direct benefit to 10,000 plus people on a scale of five persons per household. This number doesn’t represent the total number of coffee households in the province.
“The project has created a demand for many growers wanting to join,” said Mr Hombunaka.
The purpose of the PPAP coffee manager's visit was to see firsthand rehabilitation activities being carried out and also to appreciate the effort put in by co-partners and their growers.
“I’m here to say thank you to our lead partners and growers. As project manager I also want to get full appreciation of the challenges you and my officers face rather than just reading from reports,” said Mr Hombunaka in his second meeting with Warapena Coffee Ltd and growers on Saturday 19 May.
The project manager didn’t visit Undiri Coffee Investment.
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